Archeological finds indicate Maidu settled in Clover Valley

Rocks, Rails and Ranches
By: Gary Day, Special to the Placer Herald
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It started to form five million years ago as the Sierra lifted and tilted westward. Runoff streams wore down millions of years of rock and gravel deposits and eventually cut the valley down to granite bedrock. Saber tooth cats, long necked camels and mammoths drank from the valley?s creek until about 12,000 years ago. Mid-19th century Euro-American settlers named it ?Clover Valley.? Boulder Ridge borders it on the west and the Clover Valley Hills on the east. The valley slopes southward four miles from its head at the Clover Valley Reservoir to its abrupt end at Midas Avenue near the Sunset Whitney Golf Course. Sierra College Boulevard crosses the valley on an elevated roadbed about a mile south of the reservoir. Recent archeological finds in the middle of the valley indicate earliest human habitation about 7,000 years ago, although archeological finds high on the western slopes of the Sierra show that humans might have been in the Rocklin area as early as 10,000 years ago. Around 3,000 years ago (possibly as late as 1,500 years ago), a distinctly new culture, the Maidu, occupied the northeastern Sacramento Valley and the adjacent western Sierra. Rocklin area. The Maidu were among a group that anthropologists named ?Southern Maidu.? They established permanent villages, but also moved among the Sierra foothills and the Sacramento Valley to exploit seasonal ripening and the availability of game. They called themselves ?Nisenan,? which meant ?the people? in their language. Clover Valley Nisenan built sunken 10- to 15-foot diameter dome-shaped homes with earth or Tule roofs. Villages, which could number up to 500 people, included sweathouses where men talked, sang and sweated away their concerns. Fifty-foot diameter ceremonial dance houses and acorn granaries were also common. ________ Know and Go What: ?The Hidden wonder of the World: the Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento to Donner Summit? Who: Railroad historians Bill George and Chris Graves When: 7 p.m. on Monday, May 21 Where: Old St. Mary?s Chapel on Front Street in historic Rocklin